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Author Topic: Attitudes about Drinking  (Read 4083 times)
Flick James
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« on: April 01, 2011, 10:32:38 AM »

I've noticed that members here run a pretty large gamut of attitudes toward drinking, from outright straight-edge teetotallers to people who simply don't drink because it doesn't agree with them to occasional/moderate drinkers to full-blown partiers, although I've never noticed anybody seeming to have a problem with it. In the U.S. in general, and I've seen it played out on this board to some degree, there are some attitudes about drinking that just seem bizarre to me.

People who don't drink seem to either be judgemental of those who drink or think it's stupid, or feel judged themselves by a society that seems to want to push them to drink in order to have a good time. I can understand this attitude, although I do drink myself, mainly because of what I will bring up in the next point.

People who drink heartily seem to feel judged for their behavior and rebel against it, becoming all the more belligerent in their behavior, as if in reaction to this. And, in turn, I've noticed drinkers do be judgemental to a certain extent about non-drinkers. And so this further exacerbates the obnoxiousness that non-drinkers don't like when being around a bunch of rowdy drinkers.

It seems a viscious cycle to me, and I've just never understood it. There just seems to be so many hang-ups in America about drinking. Perhaps it is my exposure to European attitudes, which just seem much more healthy to me in this particular regard. My wife's family is from Ireland, and there drinking is just something that's there. Sure there are some folks that get sloppy when drunk, and plenty of drinking does go on, but people just seem far more in control and far less obnoxious about it in general. Also, the judgemental attitudes back and forth between drinkers and non-drinkers seems to be removed. Contrary to stereotypes, there are plenty of teetotallers in Ireland as well as plenty of drinkers. Also, people seem to go on and off drinking there, in my experience. I've known people to go on drinking periods followed by periods where they won't touch the stuff. But in general they just don't have any wierd attitudes about. People either drink or don't drink, and they all can hang out in the same establishment and not be so annoyed with each other. I went to a pub in a small town in Northern Ireland where there was a traditional music session going on, fiddlers, flutists, pipers, etc. just playing trad tunes as they gather to do on a regular basis. Some were knocking back pints, some were nursing them, some were just sipping tea. It just wasn't an issue. And if somebody does have a drinking problem, it is generally looked at as that person's problem, not society's problem, and they aren't ostracized and judged as having a problem. If they want to work it out, they'll do it on their own.

It's just a very different attitude than what I see here. This has nothing to do with an overall comparison of European attitudes vs. American or who is better. I don't give a s**t about that. I have the ability to discriminate and isolate issues, and on this one I simply favor the European outlook on the matter and think it is just more healthy. Here we have to stigmatize drinking, and other behaviors, which is exactly why, in my opinion, we have so many damn hang-ups in this country.

Anyway, I had a discussion about this with a coworker and felt like sharing my views on the matter. Is drinking potentially problematic? Sure it is. So is smoking and eating badly. Personally, I think smoking and obesity are far bigger problems for this country than drinking. What do you think?
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The Burgomaster
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 12:09:10 PM »

Personally, I think smoking and obesity are far bigger problems for this country than drinking. What do you think?

Let me start by saying I drank pretty heavily when I was in my late 20s and early 30s.  I wasn't an alcoholic, but when I went out with my friends (which in those days was 6 or 7 nights per week) I got drunk about 90% of the time.  I don't drink as much these days, but that's probably because I don't go out with friends 6 or 7 nights a week anymore.  Otherwise, I'd probably still drink a lot.  I don't care if other people drink or not.  That's their business.

Obesity is a big problem.  Not so much smoking anymore . . . a lot of people have quit.  There aren't NEARLY as many smokers around these days as when I was a kid.  Almost all of my adult relatives used to smoke.  Now, not a single one of them does (and most of them haven't for 25 years or more).  I was never a smoker.

Obesity and smoking mostly hurt the people who are obese or who are smokers.  Drinking, however, has much more potential to hurt others (for instance, drunk drivers or violent drunks).  I know, second hand smoke can affect other people, too.  But now that there are so many anti-smoking rules in public places second hand smoke is far less of an issue than it was when I was young and people smoked virtually everywhere including movie theaters, restaurants, and airplanes.

Overall, I say "Live and let live" unless you are infringing on someone else's right to do so.


« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 01:16:52 PM by The Burgomaster » Logged

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Flick James
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 12:33:55 PM »

Quote
Not so much smoking anymore . . . a lot of people have quit.

That is true. It's interesting how public attitudes have changed regarding smoking. 50 years ago, you would see photographs of major movie stars and celebrities with a cigarette in their hands. It was a symbol of coolness. Even if a major movie star didn't smoke, people would literally light a cigarette and hand it to them before taking a picture. "Here. We don't care if you smoke or not. We just want to get a shot of you holding the cigarette." It was almost the equivalent of a makeup person doing a quick touch up before a shot. When I first entered the workforce in the 80's, it was common to smoke in the office, whereas now it would be ridiculous to even think about that.
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akiratubo
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 01:08:33 PM »

I've quit drinking, been sober since January 1st (coincidence, not a New Year's resolution).  Drinking, or being around drunk people, isn't fun anymore.  Perhaps not coincidentally, I'm one hell of a lot happier, I've lost over 30 pounds, I've saved a ton of money, and it's nice not to wake up sick every day.  No alcohol is going past my lips ever again, not even a beer.

Personally, I think drunkenness is a HUGE problem.  Liquor has a way of making good things bad and bad things worse.  I don't know what could be done about it on the larger scale but I can forbid alcohol in my house.  Any gatherings I host are strictly dry.
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2011, 01:19:55 PM »

When I first entered the workforce in the 80's, it was common to smoke in the office, whereas now it would be ridiculous to even think about that.

Around 1991 I worked in a "smoke free" office . . . except the Office Manager and another Manager were chain smokers.  They used to smoke in their offices with their doors closed and the company let them get away with it.
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2011, 01:55:47 PM »

I simply don't drink.  I was never an alcoholic but it just doesn't taste good to me.  If someone bought me a shot that's fine.  But I won't put out the money for it.
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2011, 02:15:12 PM »

my attitude towards drinking is I'm doing it right now.  Cheers
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 02:40:32 PM »

I live in a small town ~2500 people that used to have 14 bars and a few liquor stores. It used to be called "A quiet little drinking town with a fishing problem". There was crap that happened, but I really believe that the problems of drinking can be blown way out of proportion. We always see crap in the news that people do, but considering the number of people that drink peacefully without incident, I don't see it as causality. It comes down to individuals: a small percentage causing most of the problems. People talk about the drunk driving problem in the US, and it's there, but it is made to sound like every person that drinks goes out and does it. I know TONS of people at the prison that have multiple DWIs, some 5, 10, even 15 DWIs, but most of these people are problematic to society no matter what, most are in for things that don't have anything to do with alcohol. It's a small number making huge headlines, their alcohol escapades being more of a symptom than a cause.

That said, it all depends of your definition of a 'problem'. Someone wasting their life away by their 'hobby' being sitting at a bar isn't a 'problem' in my book until it starts effecting others, and the majority of the time it doesn't. The fact that they die with little to their name is none of my business, but many people call that a problem. I call it a choice, just the same as I consider anyone else indulging in a hobby I find unsatisfying THEIR choice.

Just the same as anything else, there are extremists. I had a highschool nurse that laid out a list of questions that if you answered 'yes' to more than a few of them, she said you were an alcoholic. Virtually everyone that drank at highschool age was an alcoholic in her book, and it wasn't even a remotely intelligent point of view. "do you ever hide your drinking from anyone?" "Have you ever gotten in trouble for drinking?" "have you ever gotten sick from drinking too much?" "Have you ever done anything while drunk that you later regretted?" "have you ever hid alcohol so other's wouldn't find it?" "have you ever attended an event that the main purpose of it was to drink?". Here goes: I had a 12 pack hidden in my room, I took it to a party and drank it. I ended up kissing some ugly chick. I went home and acted like everything was OK, but then I barfed on the floor, and my parents grounded me. That's all it took to be an alcoholic in her book. Of course teenagers hide their drinking from their parents. of course they eventually get caught and in trouble. Of course they hide their beer. Of course they go to partys and such where drinking is common. Of course people do and say thing they regret, that's common of PEOPLE, not just people who drink. The only kids who DON"T fall into the alcoholic category were the kids whose parents didn't care what they did, so they didn't try and hide it or get into any trouble.
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Flick James
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 02:47:42 PM »

"do you ever hide your drinking from anyone?" "Have you ever gotten in trouble for drinking?" "have you ever gotten sick from drinking too much?" "Have you ever done anything while drunk that you later regretted?" "have you ever hid alcohol so other's wouldn't find it?" "have you ever attended an event that the main purpose of it was to drink?".
 
Just that those questions were being asked of highschoolers is absurd. Um. Hello. Wouldn't the answer generally be an automatic "yes" if you drank at all in highschool? Lookingup

Anyway, thank you for that post, ghouk. There is not enough karma.
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 03:13:58 PM »

I don't drink.
Ever.

Just doesn't appeal.  Thumbup
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 03:36:23 PM »

I don't think you can honestly talk about drinking habitually and to excess as a 'victimless' situation.  Tell that to anyone who has lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident: they account for one third of the traffic fatalities every year.  That is on the order of TEN THOUSAND people per year.

What about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - the leading known cause of intellectual disability in the Western world?  Kids who are permanently damaged because their moms drank while pregnant. Those kids did not consent to that.

And let's not get into how alcohol abuse figures in to family problems and so on...

Not a private harmless passtime in every case, gentlemen.  Bluesad
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Flick James
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 03:56:54 PM »

I don't think you can honestly talk about drinking habitually and to excess as a 'victimless' situation.  Tell that to anyone who has lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident: they account for one third of the traffic fatalities every year.  That is on the order of TEN THOUSAND people per year.

What about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - the leading known cause of intellectual disability in the Western world?  Kids who are permanently damaged because their moms drank while pregnant. Those kids did not consent to that.

And let's not get into how alcohol abuse figures in to family problems and so on...

Not a private harmless passtime in every case, gentlemen.  Bluesad

Okay, I already know I'm going to be perceived as a heartless a***ole, I'm used to it, so here we go.

Driving while intoxicated is against the law. It's against the law because driving a vehicle on public roads is not a right. You have to be licensed to do it. I have no sympathy to anybody who goes to jail for killing somebody while drunk, and I have all the sympathy in the world for anybody who has lost somebody to that. You're appealing to emotion there, and I will honestly question your numbers. What statistics say that one third of traffic fatalities involve drunk driving? And if you provide one statistic, I have no doubt that I can find a statistic that counters it. That's why I don't use statistics to justify whether something is a victimless crime or not. Drinking didn't kill any of those people, a moron drinking and getting behind the wheel, something that he/she knows is against the law, and running over somebody because they were impaired is what killed them.

Here's the part where I'm truly a heartless a***ole. The unborn have no legal protection according to how the law defines life. Whether that's wrong or right, I'm not saying, but laws that were made long before science could see inside the womb don't recognize life until there is a birth certificate. The same argument that says that the unborn should be protected from FAS is the exact same argument that says they should be protected from abortion. I'm not taking a position in the pro-life/pro-choice debate here. That's not the point. What I am saying is that, according to the legal definition, unborn children can't be victims. Humanely? Yes, they most certainly can, but the law is limited. It can only protect so much, and this territory is far too hazy for the law to deal with.

Now, Newt, you have demonstrated yourself in my experience to be a very rational and intelligent person. Is it possible that in this case you are reacting more emotionally? I'm not saying that out of disrespect. Hey, I've got my emotional hot buttons too. But you seem to be advocating prohibition, because that's the only thing that could even remotely address the issues you have mentioned. If that's the case, I will have to differ with you. But I still respect you.
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RCMerchant
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 04:01:58 PM »

Im in the minorty here. Not proud of it. In fact you could say Im an alcholic. I drink whiskey. A LOT.
I dont drink and drive.EVER. I dont fight .My worst problem when I drink is I get real mushy-"I love you!" kinda mushy.And that gets me in trouble. And booze works like Viagra too. so that doubles the problem. I wanna f2ck everyone when Im drunk.

Oh-by the way-I love you man!  Drink

(I really do love you guys-booze not withstanding. !)
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 04:10:00 PM »

I drink quite alot too. I can go through phases where I'll drink every day, morning and night for about a month. Then, I'll just say "hell, I'm quitting damn it!" and stop for anything upto three months. I don't touch spirits so much anymore and it is absolutely suicide for me if I mix my drinks (I go into pyscho mode), so I tend to drink a ton of lager. The main problem I have is that I don't have any friends or family where I live and I only know ppl through work, so when I go out with them - I drink. I drink because I get bored and because I fall into that vicious (and stupid) trap of trying to "numb" my pain and memories. But, I drink alone, at home so that I don't embarress myself or hurt anyone.

I don't judge anyone who drinks more heavily than me and I don't judge people who don't drink. I commend them.
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 04:14:44 PM »

What statistics say that one third of traffic fatalities involve drunk driving?

The statistics say 32% of all traffic deaths involve an intoxicated driver. That said, even the experts agree that a significant percentage of those deaths would not have been prevented had the drunken drivers been sober. 'involved' does not equal 'caused'.

Also "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - the leading known cause of intellectual disability in the Western world", that's a manipulative way of presenting the info, since the vast majority of those disabilities are caused by things unknown. 1 in every 160 children born in the developed world suffer from some form of autism spectrum, and there is little known of a cause. The key is leading KNOWN cause. . .

Also, it is unfortunate that when drinking is discussed, the discussion automatically takes the turn that seems to equate all drinking to the worst incidence. Yes, drunk driving is an enormous problem, but if you consider how little it actually happens compared to the number of people that are drinking, it's hard to lump the whole drinking population together. An even greater factor in highway deaths is excessive speed, but we don't cast blame on those that drive a couple MPH over the limit the same as we do people that drink.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 04:25:08 PM by ghouck » Logged

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